Trengove relishing Demons' AFL flag tilt

Ex-Melbourne captain Jack Trengove is backing good mate Max Gawn and the Demons in the grand final.
Ex-Melbourne captain Jack Trengove is backing good mate Max Gawn and the Demons in the grand final.

If Max Gawn casts his eye around Optus Stadium before the AFL grand final, he can take comfort in knowing there'll be at least one familiar, reliable face in the crowd following his every move.

Close friend and former Melbourne co-captain Jack Trengove, who now lives in Adelaide, will be among the Demons faithfuls sitting nervously in the stands.

"I may have sent a sneaky message to Gawny a couple of weeks ago when there was a hint that they might be able to get there," Trengove told AAP.

"I said 'I don't want to ask this question, but I'm going to anyway. Theoretically, if you guys make the granny, what's the ticket situation?'

"Max said to me 'mate, you're family, they're all yours if you want them.' So my partner and I booked our flights on that day and sat in hope in the prelim to make sure they got there.

"It's my first ever (AFL) grand final that I'm going to be going to, and hopefully it's a successful one for the Dees."

Trengove still remembers the day he met Gawn - a lanky kid recovering from a knee reconstruction - out at Casey Fields in 2009, and became fast friends.

Tom Scully and Trengove - arguably the most ill-fated Pick 1-2 double in AFL history - Jordan Gysberts (No.11) and Luke Tapscott (No.18) were all drafted before Gawn (No.34), with Jack Fitzpatrick (No.50) rounding out that haul.

The only one left is Gawn - the "raw" talent who took time to hit his stride and had to endure two ACL tears.

"He always jokes to me that if he didn't do his knee in his (draft) year I would never have gone to Melbourne because he would have been pick No.2. He's probably correct," Trengove said.

"If anything, maybe the knee injury was a blessing in disguise for him because it gave him time to really understand what's required at that level, and that sort of dedication to your career.

"... Now he's just the dominant force in the whole competition and not only that but he's evolved his leadership side of things as well and he's just so inspiring to sit back and watch.

"You only have to watch on TV how moving it is when he does some things on the ground and really rallies the troops and lifts everyone up and puts them on his shoulders and just takes the game on.

"He's obviously got a lot of respect around the club and the playing group and everyone wants to really play for him so he deserves every bit of success that comes his way because I know how hard he's worked for it.

"I just really hope that he is up there at the end of the game holding up the premiership cup because it'd just be such a fitting moment for everything that he and the other boys have been through."

Trengove had a bright start to life in the AFL and was famously made co-captain ahead of his third season before debilitating foot fractures derailed his career.

He lived through the lows, then was there as the Demons started to haul themselves out of the doldrums, before being delisted at the end of 2017, later playing three games for Port Adelaide.

While Trengove holds "mixed feelings" of what could have been had his own circumstances played out differently, jealousy isn't one of them.

Instead he hopes his own 86-game, 22-win Melbourne career played even a small part.

"The overwhelming feeling for me is just how excited and proud I am for those guys because I know what a lot of them have been through," he said.

"But you sit back and reflect and I spent a lot of time with Christian Petracca in rehab in my time, Clayton Oliver lived in my house with me for a while. I've got a lot of close friends at the club still.

"No doubt there's been a huge turnover since I've finished but a lot of those guys that are key to their success this year, I have spent time with, so from that point of view I feel a little bit a part of it.

"To know that what I tried to teach Christian Petracca in those days in rehab when he did his knee, I hope that made him a better player and a better person as a result.

"There's elements that you still feel like you've left some form of knowledge and things on different players - and that's what footy clubs are built off."

Australian Associated Press